Batsman Kane Willaimson has become the first New Zealander selected as Wisden’s leading Cricketer in the World.
He and former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum have also been named a one of the publication’s : “five cricketers of the year,” while White Ferns captain Suzie Bates is the leading Women’s Cricketer in the world.
Williamson’s honor has only been bestowed by the sport’s longest serving annual publication since 2004. He joins Australians Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Michael Clarke, Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag (twice), Sri Lankan Muttiah Muraliathranand Kumar Sangakkara (twice), South Africans Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, and English Andrew Flintoff as past recipients.
The pair were chosen by Wisden editor Lawrence Booth for the award , which has been handed out in various formats since 1889.
The principal criteria are excellence or influence on the previous English summer. No one can be chosen more than once, although exceptions were made for English Plum Warner and Jack Hobbs early in the 20th century.
This year is the first time two New Zealand players have been selected in the same season. A third member of this year’s selection, England all-rounder Ben Stokes, was also born in Christchurch.
England’s Jonny Bairstow and Australia’s Steve Smith complete the five cricketers of the year.
The other Kiwis to achieve the honour are Jeetan Patel (2015), Chris Cairns (2000), Martin Crowe (1985), Jeremy Coney (1984), Sir Richard Hadlee (1982), Bevan Congdon (1974), Glenn Turner (1971), Dick Motz (1966), John R Reid (1959), Bert Sutcliffe (1950), Martin Donnelly (1948), Stewie Dempster 1932) and Roger Blunt (1928).